The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has finally bowed to the yearnings of Nigerian ship owners and extended the phase-out date for single hull tankers by five years, with the new date now December 31, 2020.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) had set an initial deadline of 2015.
The agency noted, in a statement it issued yesterday, that the decision was taken in line with the provisions of IMO which allows member states who do not have the capacity to replace their existing single hull tanker fleet to extend the phase-out date of certain categories of tankers in their countries, provided the vessels do not engage in international trade.
While noting that over 80 per cent of all Nigerian tankers are currently single hull, NIMASA said it recognised the factors constraining Nigerian ship owners from replacing all existing single hull tanker fleet by 2015.
NIMASA Director General, Patrick Akpobolokemi noted that the decision to extend the initial deadline was to sustain the development of the Nigerian maritime industry and enhance the gains of the Cabotage laws and local content Act.
“Our decision to extend the final phase-out date for all single hull tankers registered under the Nigerian flag administration to December 31, 2020 was to give more time for fleet replacement by Nigerian ship owners and also develop greater capacity to handle scrapping of vessels in the country,” he said.
Under the new arrangement, all renewal certificates to be issued during the extension period will be for only two years, and such vessels must not be more than 35 years by the end of 2015.
This is contrary to the existing five-year tenure for renewal of certificates, while registration of new single hull tankers has ceased henceforth.
All tankers that will benefit from this extension must possess valid classification and statutory certificates, including a valid Condition Assessment Scheme certificate issued by NIMASA, and they are not permitted to engage in international trade as their certificate extension only covers trade within Nigerian waters.
“It should also be noted that only Nigerian registered single hull tankers are allowed to benefit from this extension. All foreign registered single hull tankers are therefore not allowed to trade in Nigerian waters with effect from 1st May 2015.
The agency will organise a maritime stakeholders’ forum to further clarify concerns on its directive on the phase-out schedule for single hull tankers in Nigeria,” NIMASA said in the statement signed by its Head of Public Relations, Isichei Osamgbi.
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